It would appear that most of the early horsemen in Central Asia came from Iran, rather than southern Russia. The nomad artisans of the 3rd millennium BC steppes, show affinity to artisans from Iran (David 1986). During this period pastures provided grazing and herds with abundant food (Masson 1986:80). These horsemen would have been Dravidian and /or Elamite speaking people., not Indo-Iranian speaking people who seem to have learned about the horse from the Dravidian speaking people.
In the 2nd millennium BC the horse was extensively exploited throughout Central Asia (David 1986:486). For example, at the 17th 16th century BC site of Sinatasha, there are horse and chariot burials. These horsemen made fine bronzehead spears.
The oldest alleged Indo-European language spoken in Central Asia is Tocharian. Although many researchers believe Tocharian is an Indo-European language, it was probably in reality a trade language, used by the diverse people of Central Asia to communicate.
The Dravidian language is especially close to Tocharian A (TA). It would appear that Tocharian B (TB) has been greatly influenced by the Indo European languages. For example, there is labialization of labiovelars before voiceless consonants in TB.
In TA on the otherhand there are few traces of an earlier distinction between labiovelars and velar plus *w, clusters. For example:
Horse: TB yakwe, Old English eoh, Latin equus
> *yakwe PIE *ekwos Sanskrit asvas, Old Irish ech
Dog: TB kwem< PIE *kwena < PIE acc. *kwonm (Sanskrit svanam )
The TA terms for Central Asian domesticates agree with Dravidian terms.
1. Tocharian A ku dog
Dravidian kona id.
Kannanda Kunni id.
Tamil Kukkal id.
" Kuran id.
Telugu Kukka id.
Malayam Cokkan id.
3. Tocharian A ko bovine
Toda kor id.
Dravidian kode id.
Kolami ku.te id.
Tulugu kode id.
Kolami konda,konde id.
Tamil kali id.
Kananda gonde id.
Gadba konde id.
Gondi Konda bullock
As you can see from the above the Dravidians and Tocharian A group share many terms for animals, e.g., Ø ku na # 'dog'__/ Toch. Ø ku #; Ø kode # 'cow', Toch. Ø ko #; and Ø ivuli # 'horse' Toch. Ø yuk #.
Dravidian speaking people probably introduced the horse and chariots to Central Asia. In Mongolian the term for ‘cart’ is terga, this corresponds to Ta. Teer ‘car, chariot’, Ka. teer(u) ‘chariot’ .
The terms used for horse in Central Asia agree with Dravidian terms. This is interesting because it has affinity to Dravidian and Mongolian words for horse including:
Buryat (Mongolian) guun, gu ‘mare’
Tamil: kutirai, Karutai Ka. Karte ‘horse’, Proto-Nilotic *tike:ri donkey
Hausa kutur, Kuturi ‘hindquarters of a horse or domkey’
Telugu: gurramu, gadide ‘horse’; Hausa doki , goodiya; Kanuri koś
Tocharian A yu horse ; Mande wolu
Tamil ivuli id. Bambara b’lu, wolo
Brahui hulli id. Nubian unde
Telugu payyoli id.
. Many researchers may dispute the affinity between Dravidian Ø ivuli # and Tocharian A Ø yuk # 'horse'. Yet the identification of Tocharian A yuk, to Dravidian is much more supportable than the PIE root for horse. This results from the fact that there are five different Proto Indo European (PIE) roots for horse. This multitude of PIE roots for horse makes these terms inconclusive for the PIE lexicon. They also support the view that the horse was not domesticated by the Indo Europeans.
Thapar suggest that the Indo-Aryans were bilingual, and that all the Vedic agricultural terms were of non-Indo-European origin including langala ‘plough’ . Recent linguistic research makes it clear that even the Indo-Aryan terms for religion, magic, priest, deities and even soma are of non-I-A or I-E origin . David Anthony, notes in a “Comment” to the Lamberg-Karlovsky article on the origin of the Indo-Iranians observed that the Indo-Iranian word for soma plant [ancu] was borrowed from a non-Indo-European substrate language along with words for brick, plowshare and camel.
The Indic term for horse may also be of Dravidian origin. Caldwell noted that in Sanskrit the term for donkey was khara ‘ass’, in Tamil we have karudei. One of the Sanskrit terms for horse according to Caldwell is ghota, this corresponds to Ta. kudirai and goram . The Tamil term for horse may come from kudi ‘to lead’.
S.H. Levitt has presented convincing evidence that the Sanskrit term for horse is of Dravidian origin. Dr. Levitt illustared that as a result of Dravidian euphonic combinations, the Sanskrit terms kindhin, kundin, kilkin, kilvin ‘horse’, are clearly derived from (DEDR 1711) Tamil kutirai, Ma. Kutira, Te. gurramu, Kol. gurram ‘horse’ . It is important to remember that the l and r, and d and t are interchangeable in Dravidian languages. He noted that Dravidian –k-, -v- and –nt- are derivative suffixes, that alternate in the Sanskrit forms of Dravidian loan words as –l-, -nd- and –v- . The Dravidian origin for the Sanskrit terms for hosre should not be too surprising considering the fact that the Indo-Iranian terms associated with horsemanship and the horse are related to Hurrian and Hattic terms. The Hurrian and Hattic speakers spoke languages related the Dravidian group, since they were of Kushite origin.
The first wheeled vehicles probably came to Central Asia along with Dravidian and Manding speakers from Iran practicing a sedentary agro pastoralist culture (Winters 1990a). These wheeled vehicles were first pulled by cattle as evidenced from toys found at selected sites in Central Asia and the Indus Valley. These bovids pulled two or four wheeled wagons (Kohl 1988:594) This semi mobile pastoralism by the middle Bronze Age led to increased population levels in the steppe zone.
The Dravidians may have introduced the wagon, boat and plow/plough to Central Asia. The Tocharian A term 0 kukal # 'chariot,wagon' , has affinity to Dravidian rather than PIE *rotho 'wheel, chariot'.
Below are the word geneology for PIE wheel:
Sanskrit ratha chariot
" cakra wheel
Latin rota id.
German rad id.
Toch. A kukal wagon
Toch. B kokale id.
As you can see *rotho 'wheel', is not closely related to Tocharian terms for wagon, but TB 0 kukal # is closely related to Dravidian kal 'wagon'.
Tocharian B kokale chariot,wagon
Tocharian A kukal id.
Tamil kal id.
Kui Opka id.
Tulugu gali wheel
Kananda gali id.
In summary the Dravidian speaking people were familiar with horses since their former occupation of the Saharan highlands and the Sudan. As a result the Dravidian and African speaking people share common names for the horse and ass/donkey. It is also clear that these Dravidian speaking people may have brought horses with them to the Indus Valley when they founded the Dilmun, or Indus Valley civilization.
In addition, the linguistic evidence clearly suggest that the Mongolian, Tocharian and Indic terms for horse are probably the result of a Dravidian influence. The term for horse can not be a Indo-European loan because of the close relationship between Sanskrit kundin ‘horse’ and Tamil kutirai ‘ horse’ and the terms for ‘ass’ , point to a Dravidian origin for Indo-Iranian words relating to horse, wagon etc.